Data on PFAS in Drinking Water in Rhode Island
Drinking water from public water systems is regularly tested for substances that can harm health. Public water systems in Rhode Island are now required to test for a group of chemicals called per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS). Public water systems were required to collect samples for PFAS by July 1, 2023, and will test on a regular basis in the future.
Some public water systems test water at multiple locations. The table below shows the highest result for each system that exceeded Rhode Island’s new PFAS drinking water standard. This table will be updated as results are received. If you do not know which water system your water comes from, check your water bill. If you don’t receive a water bill, contact the town you live in and provide your address.
More Information about PFAS
Rhode Island PFAS Requirement
The Rhode Island State Legislature passed the PFAS in Drinking Water, Groundwater, and Surface Waters Act in 2022. This law requires public water systems to sample for six PFAS contaminants. The six PFAS contaminants are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA). The law established an interim state standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) total for these six PFAS. This is the maximum amount of PFAS allowed in drinking water by Rhode Island law.
- Due to the potential for increased risk to human health, do not drink orders are being issued for systems with PFAS results that are greater than 70 ppt.
- Public water systems with results greater than 20 ppt are required to issue public advisories to their customers. They also have 180 days to enter into an agreement with RIDOH outlining how they will lower the level of PFAS in their water.
About the Data
If initial results indicated PFAS at 20 ppt or greater, a public water system is required to take another sample within 48 hours, called a confirmation sample.
For the systems that exceeded 20 ppt, the levels in the table below show the highest result (average of the initial result and the confirmation sample). This table shows the highest level of PFAS that could possibly reach a consumer. The water that reaches consumers may have lower levels of PFAS than what is shown here because public water systems may mix multiple water sources. Some public water systems turned off wells with high PFAS levels when they received the results, as a temporary action. People can contact their water system for more information about test results and actions that are being taken.
RIDOH has not yet received PFAS drinking water data for all public water systems in Rhode Island. Although systems were required to collect samples by July 1, 2023, analysis can take several weeks. Water systems with PFAS levels greater than 20 ppt are contacting their consumers directly, as results are received.
At this time, RIDOH’s data validation work is focused on systems that exceeded 20 ppt. It is expected that all results for all systems will be finalized by the end of August.